# Three coupled PDEs to be solved semi-analytically/analytically

I have been trying to solve the following three coupled PDEs where the final objective is to find the distributions $$\theta_h, \theta_c$$ and $$\theta_w$$:

$$x\in[0,1]$$ and $$y\in[0,1]$$

$$\frac{\partial \theta_h}{\partial x}+\beta_h (\theta_h-\theta_w) = 0 \tag A$$

$$\frac{\partial \theta_c}{\partial y} + \beta_c (\theta_c-\theta_w) = 0 \tag B$$

$$\lambda_h \frac{\partial^2 \theta_w}{\partial x^2} + \lambda_c V\frac{\partial^2 \theta_w}{\partial y^2}-\frac{\partial \theta_h}{\partial x} - V\frac{\partial \theta_c}{\partial y} = 0 \tag C$$

where, $$\beta_h, \beta_c, V, \lambda_h, \lambda_c$$ are constants. The boundary conditions are:

$$\frac{\partial \theta_w(0,y)}{\partial x}=\frac{\partial \theta_w(1,y)}{\partial x}=\frac{\partial \theta_w(x,0)}{\partial y}=\frac{\partial \theta_w(x,1)}{\partial y}=0$$

$$\theta_h(0,y)=1, \theta_c(x,0)=0$$

A user in Mathematics stack exchange suggested me the following steps that might work towards solving this problem:

1. Represent each of the three functions using 2D Fourier series
2. Observe that all equations are linear
• Thus there is no frequency coupling
• Thus for every pair of frequencies $$\omega_x$$, $$\omega_y$$ there will be a solution from a linear combination of only those terms
1. Apply boundary conditions directly to each of the three series
• Note that by orthogonality the boundary condition has to apply to each term of the fourier series
1. Plug in Fourier series into PDE and solve coefficient matching (see here for example in 1D). Make sure you treat separately the cases when one or both of the frequencies are zero.
2. If you consider all equations for a given frequency pair, you can arrange them into an equation $$M\alpha = 0$$, where $$\alpha$$ are fourier coefficients for that those frequencies, and $$M$$ is a small sparse matrix (sth like 12x12) that will only depend on the constants.
3. For each frequency, the allowed solutions will be in the Null space of that matrix. In case you are not able to solve for the null space analytically, it is not a big deal - calculating null space numerically is easy, especially for small matrices.

Can someone help me in applying these steps in Mathematica ?

PDE1 = D[θh[x, y], x] + bh*(θh[x, y] - θw[x, y]) == 0;

PDE2 = D[θc[x, y], y] + bc*(θc[x, y] - θw[x, y]) == 0;

PDE3 = λh*D[θw[x, y], {x, 2}] + λc*V*(D[θw[x, y], {y, 2}]) - D[θh[x, y], x] - V*D[θc[x, y], y] ==0

bh=0.433;bc=0.433;λh = 2.33 10^-6; λc = 2.33 10^-6; V = 1;


NDSolve solution (Wrong results)

PDE1 = D[θh[x, y], x] + bh*(θh[x, y] - θw[x, y]) == 0;

PDE2 = D[θc[x, y], y] + bc*(θc[x, y] - θw[x, y]) == 0;

PDE3 = λh*D[θw[x, y], {x, 2}] + λc*V*(D[θw[x, y], {y, 2}]) - D[θh[x, y], x] - V*D[θc[x, y], y] == NeumannValue[0, x == 0.] + NeumannValue[0, x == 1] +
NeumannValue[0, y == 0] + NeumannValue[0, y == 1];

bh = 1; bc = 1; λh = 1; λc = 1; V = 1;(*Random \
values*)

sol = NDSolve[{PDE1, PDE2, PDE3, DirichletCondition[θh[x, y] == 1, x == 0], DirichletCondition[θc[x, y] == 0, y == 0]}, {θh, θc, θw}, {x, 0, 1}, {y, 0, 1}]

Plot3D[θw[x, y] /. sol, {x, 0, 1}, {y, 0, 1}]


Towards a separable solution

I wrote $$\theta_h(x,y) = \beta_h e^{-\beta_h x} \int e^{\beta_h x} \theta_w(x,y) \, \mathrm{d}x$$ and $$\theta_c(x,y) = \beta_c e^{-\beta_c y} \int e^{\beta_c y} \theta_w(x,y) \, \mathrm{d}y$$ and eliminated $$\theta_h$$ and $$\theta_c$$ from Eq. (C). Then I used the ansatz $$\theta_w(x,y) = e^{-\beta_h x} f(x) e^{-\beta_c y} g(y)$$ on this new Eq. (C) to separate it into $$x$$ and $$y$$ components. Then on using $$F(x) := \int f(x) \, \mathrm{d}x$$ and $$G(y) := \int g(y) \, \mathrm{d}y$$, I get the following two equations:

$$\begin{eqnarray} \lambda_h F''' - 2 \lambda_h \beta_h F'' + \left( (\lambda_h \beta_h - 1) \beta_h - \mu \right) F' + \beta_h^2 F &=& 0,\\ V \lambda_c G''' - 2 V \lambda_c \beta_c G'' + \left( (\lambda_c \beta_c - 1) V \beta_c + \mu \right) G' + V \beta_c^2 G &=& 0, \end{eqnarray}$$ with some separation constant $$\mu \in \mathbb{R}$$. However I could not proceed any further.

A partial-integro differential equation

Eliminating $$\theta_h, \theta_c$$ from the Eq. (C) gives rise to a partio-integral differential equation:

$$\begin{eqnarray} 0 &=& e^{-\beta_h x} \left( \lambda_h e^{\beta_h x} \frac{\partial^2 \theta_w}{\partial x^2} - \beta_h e^{\beta_h x} \theta_w + \beta_h^2 \int e^{\beta_h x} \theta_w \, \mathrm{d}x \right) +\\ && + V e^{-\beta_c y} \left( \lambda_c e^{\beta_c y} \frac{\partial^2 \theta_w}{\partial y^2} - \beta_c e^{\beta_c y} \theta_w + \beta_c^2 \int e^{\beta_c y} \theta_w \, \mathrm{d}y \right). \end{eqnarray}$$

SPIKES

For bc = 4; bh = 2; λc = 0.01; λh = 0.01; V = 2;

However, the same parameters but with V=1 work nicely. Some reference material for future users

In order to understand the evaluation of Fourier coefficients using the concept of minimization of least squares which @bbgodfrey uses in his answer, future users can look at this paper by R. Kelman (1979). Alternatively this presentation and this video are also useful references.

• Show equations and formulae as Mathematica code. Also show what you have tried so far in code. – MarcoB Nov 29 '20 at 18:07
• Have added the equations as mathematica scripts. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to proceed in this problem according to the mentioned steps. Although, I know how to solve the coupled system using NDSolve, but I am aiming for a semi-analytical solution and hence the question. – Avrana Nov 29 '20 at 18:32
• I too have separated the equations and can solve them, but not with θh[0, y] == 1. Also, I do not believe that the equations can be Fourier-decomposed, because the solution for θh almost certainly is not periodic with period 1. – bbgodfrey Nov 30 '20 at 15:33
• Transforming θh certainly solves the boundary condition issues, but the first equation becomes inhomogeneous and no longer is separable. However, it might be possible to construct a Green's function from the homogeneous transformed system and then use it to obtain the solution to the inhomogeneous system. – bbgodfrey Nov 30 '20 at 16:34
• @IndrasisMitra The 3D problem cannot be solved by the method I used here. Instead, expand the equations in a Fourier Cosine series in x and y, which converts the two auxiliary ODEs into matrices, invert the matrices, and use the results to solve the Laplace equation in z. Two potential problems are that the matrices may need to be quite large for accurate results, and the Gibbs Phenomenon may arise. I shall not have time to solve the system until next weekend. – bbgodfrey Dec 13 '20 at 13:15

Edits: Replaced 1-term expansion by n-term expansion; improved generality of eigenvalue and coefficient computations; reordered and simplified code.

Beginning with this set of equations, proceed as follows to obtain an almost symbolic solution.

ClearAll[Evaluate[Context[] <> "*"]]
eq1 = D[θh[x, y], x] + bh (θh[x, y] - θw[x, y])
eq2 = D[θc[x, y], y] + bc (θc[x, y] - θw[x, y])
eq3 = λh D[θw[x, y], x, x] + λc V D[θw[x, y], y, y] + bh (θh[x, y] - θw[x, y]) +
V bc (θc[x, y] - θw[x, y])


First, convert these equations into ODEs by the separation of variables method.

th = Collect[(eq1 /. {θh -> Function[{x, y}, θhx[x] θhy[y]],
θw -> Function[{x, y}, θwx[x] θwy[y]]})/(θhy[y] θwx[x]),
{θhx[x], θhx'[x], θwy[y]}, Simplify];
1 == th[[1 ;; 3 ;; 2]];
eq1x = Subtract @@ Simplify[θwx[x] # & /@ %] == 0
1 == -th[];
eq1y = θhy[y] # & /@ %
(* bh θhx[x] - θwx[x] + θhx'[x] == 0
θhy[y] == bh θwy[y] *)

tc = Collect[(eq2 /. {θc -> Function[{x, y}, θcx[x] θcy[y]],
θw -> Function[{x, y}, θwx[x] θwy[y]]})/(θcx[x] θwy[y]),
{θcy[y], θcy'[y], θwy[y]}, Simplify];
1 == -tc[];
eq2x = θcx[x] # & /@ %
1 == tc[[2 ;; 3]];
eq2y = Subtract @@ Simplify[θwy[y] # & /@ %] == 0
(* θcx[x] == bc θwx[x]
bc θcy[y] - θwy[y] + [θcy[y] == 0 *)

tw = Plus @@ ((List @@ Expand[eq3 /. {θh -> Function[{x, y}, θhx[x] θhy[y]],
θc -> Function[{x, y}, θcx[x] θcy[y]], θw -> Function[{x, y}, θwx[x] θwy[y]]}])/
(θwx[x] θwy[y]) /. Rule @@ eq2x /. Rule @@ eq1y);
sw == -tw[[1 ;; 5 ;; 2]];
eq3x = Subtract @@ Simplify[θwx[x] # & /@ %] == 0
sw == tw[[2 ;; 6 ;; 2]];
eq3y = -Subtract @@ Simplify[θwy[y] # & /@ %] == 0
(* bh^2 θhx[x] - bh θwx[x] + sw θwx[x] + λh θwx''[x] == 0
bc^2 V θcy[y] - (sw + bc V) θwy[y] + V λc θwy''[y] == 0 *)


With the equations separated into ODEs, solve the y-dependent equations with the boundary conditions applied. The resulting expressions, involving RootSum, are lengthy and so are not reproduced here.

sy = DSolveValue[{eq2y, eq3y, θcy == 0, θwy' == 0}, {θwy[y], θcy[y], θwy'},
{y, 0, 1}] /. C -> 1;


This is, of course, an eigenvalue problem with nontrivial solutions only for discrete values of the separation constant, sw. The dispersion relation for sw is given by θwy' == 0. The corresponding x dependence is determined for each eigenvalue by

sx = DSolveValue[{eq1x, eq3x, θwx' == 0, θwx' == 0, θhx == 1},
{θwx[x], θhx[x]}, {x, 0, 1}];


and it is at this point that the inhomogeneous boundary condition, θhx == 1, is applied. This result also is too lengthy to reproduce here.

Next, numerically determine the first several (here, n = 6) eigenvalues, which requires specifying the parameters:

bc = 1; bh = 1; λc = 1; λh = 1; V = 1;

disp = sy[]
(* RootSum[sw + #1 + sw #1 - #1^2 - #1^3 &,
(E^#1 sw + E^#1 #1 + E^#1 sw #1)/(-1 - sw + 2 #1 + 3 #1^2) &] *)

n = 6;
Plot[disp, {sw, -300, 10}, AxesLabel -> {sw, "disp"},
LabelStyle -> {15, Bold, Black}, ImageSize -> Large] The first several eigenvalues are estimated from the zeroes of the plot and then computed to high accuracy.

Partition[Union @@ Cases[%, Line[z_] -> z, Infinity], 2, 1];
Reverse[Cases[%, {{z1_, z3_}, {z2_, z4_}} /; z3 z4 < 0 :> z1]][[1 ;; n]];
tsw = sw /. Table[FindRoot[disp, {sw, sw0}], {sw0, %}]
(* {-0.635232, -10.7982, -40.4541, -89.8156, -158.907, -247.736} *)


and the corresponding eigenfunctions obtained by plugging these values of sw into sy[1;;2] and sx.

Plot[Evaluate@ComplexExpand@Replace[sy[],
{sw -> #} & /@ tsw, Infinity], {y, 0, 1}, AxesLabel -> {y, θwy},
LabelStyle -> {15, Bold, Black}, ImageSize -> Large]
Plot[Evaluate@ComplexExpand@Replace[sy[],
{sw -> #} & /@ tsw, Infinity], {y, 0, 1}, AxesLabel -> {y, θhy},
LabelStyle -> {15, Bold, Black}, ImageSize -> Large]  Plot[Evaluate@ComplexExpand@Replace[sx[],
{sw -> #} & /@ tsw, Infinity], {x, 0, 1}, AxesLabel -> {x, θwx},
LabelStyle -> {15, Bold, Black}, ImageSize -> Large, PlotRange -> {0, 1}]
Plot[Evaluate@ComplexExpand@Replace[sx[],
{sw -> #} & /@ tsw, Infinity], {x, 0, 1}, AxesLabel -> {x, θhx},
LabelStyle -> {15, Bold, Black}, ImageSize -> Large, PlotRange -> {0, 1}]  With the first n complete eigenfunctions computed, their coefficients next are determined, so that they can be summed to approximate the solution to the original equations. This is done by least-squares, because the ODE system is not self-adjoint.

syn = ComplexExpand@Replace[bh sy[] /. C -> 1, {sw -> #} & /@ tsw,
Infinity] // Chop//Chop;
Integrate[Expand[(1 - Array[c, n].syn)^2], {y, 0, 1}] // Chop;
coef = ArgMin[%, Array[c, n]]
(* {0.974358, 0.0243612, 0.000807808, 0.000341335, 0.0000506603, \


0.0000446734} *)

The quality of the fit is very good.

Plot[coef.syn - 1, {y, 0, 1}, AxesLabel -> {y, err},
LabelStyle -> {15, Bold, Black}, ImageSize -> Large] Finally, construct the solution.

solw = coef.ComplexExpand@Replace[sy[] sx[], {sw -> #} & /@ tsw, Infinity];
Plot3D[solw, {x, 0, 1}, {y, 0, 1}, AxesLabel -> {x, y, θw},
LabelStyle -> {15, Bold, Black}, ImageSize -> Large] solh = coef.ComplexExpand@Replace[bh sy[] sx[], {sw -> #} & /@ tsw, Infinity];
Plot3D[solh, {x, 0, 1}, {y, 0, 1}, AxesLabel -> {x, y, θh},
LabelStyle -> {15, Bold, Black}, ImageSize -> Large, PlotRange -> {0, 1}] solc = coef.ComplexExpand@Replace[bc sy[] sx[], {sw -> #} & /@ tsw, Infinity];
Plot3D[solc, {x, 0, 1}, {y, 0, 1}, AxesLabel -> {x, y, θc},
LabelStyle -> {15, Bold, Black}, ImageSize -> Large, PlotRange -> {0, 1}] Because this derivation is lengthy, we show here that the equations themselves are satisfied identically.

Chop@Simplify[{eq1, eq2, eq3} /. {θh -> Function[{x, y}, Evaluate@solh],
θc -> Function[{x, y}, Evaluate@solc], θw -> Function[{x, y}, Evaluate@solw]}]
(* {0, 0, 0} *)


Furthermore, the boundary condition on θh is satisfied to better than 0.004%, and the boundary condition on θc is satisfied identically.

The corresponding 3D computation has been completed at 226346.

• @IndrasisMitra The value of C does not matter when finding the roots of disp, so I sent it to 1 arbitrarily. I use C -> 1/sint to fit θwy to 1. However, I am working on a multiterm expansion to provide a better fit and shall publish it here in a few hours. Then I shall look at your second case. – bbgodfrey Dec 6 '20 at 12:17
• @IndrasisMitra Yes, I used approximate value from the plot as starting values for FindRoot. However, just a few minutes ago I automated the process, which was not difficult. I shall look at your second set of parameters later today. – bbgodfrey Dec 6 '20 at 17:55
• @IndrasisMitra Yes, this is easy to do, and I shall add the code in a few minutes. However, not having enough eigenvalues is more difficult to address. – bbgodfrey Dec 7 '20 at 6:46
• @IndrasisMitra The default value of WorkingPrecision is inadequate for your last set of parameters, as can be seen from the plots of sx. Using rational values for the parameters helps a bit, but not enough. Using WorkingPrecision -> 30 in every numerical calculation should be adequate, and revising the code is straightforward. However, I will not have time for a few days. Search google for discussions of the minimization process. – bbgodfrey Dec 7 '20 at 13:40
• @IndrasisMitra I modified the code to improve the generality of the tsw and coef computations. For your most recent test case, at least n = 12 eigenvalues are needed, WorkingPrecision ->30 must be added in FindRoot, and ComplexExpand in plot arguments. The coef computation takes a few minutes now. By the way, I plan to simplify the code in the answer this weekend. – bbgodfrey Dec 10 '20 at 12:51

The solution I get with Version 12.0.0 looks indeed inconsistent. I compare the solution rather close to the one shown on the documenation page for NDSolve in the section Possible Issues -> Partial Differential Equations with the example for the Laplace equation with initial values.

For the partial differential equation system given and for the value set only with one I can use NDSolve for this result: The similarity is not the divergence that drops to the origin but the row of spikes that can be seen at about $$x=.3$$ and $$y=0.3$$ for $$𝜃_h$$ and $$𝜃_c$$. This coupling is though really unphysical. But there is some more seemingly useful information with the experiment. For the other given set of constants the decoupling between the two component not multiplied with the $$𝜆_ℎ,𝜆_𝑐$$ of order $$10^-6$$ are very little varying in the unit square and very gigantic close to the disturbance from the initial conditions.

So a closed solution is not available with the constants. The given question is ill-posed and shows up as numerical instability.

The set of equation decouples by $$𝜆_ℎ,𝜆_𝑐$$.

$$(A')$$ $$\frac{\partial\theta_h}{\partial x}=-\beta_h\theta_h$$

$$(B')$$ $$\frac{\partial\theta_c}{\partial x}=-\beta_h\theta_c$$

$$(C')$$->

$$(C1)$$ $$𝜆_ℎ\frac{∂^2𝜃_𝑤}{∂𝑥^2}+𝜆_𝑐 𝑉 \frac{∂^2𝜃_𝑤}{∂𝑦^2}=0$$

$$(C1)$$ $$−\frac{∂𝜃_h}{∂𝑥}−𝑉\frac{∂𝜃_𝑐}{∂𝑦}=0$$

where, $$𝛽_ℎ,𝛽_𝑐,𝑉,𝜆_ℎ,𝜆_𝑐$$ are constants.

The boundary conditions are:

(I)

\$\frac{∂𝜃_𝑤(0,𝑦)}{∂𝑥}=\frac{∂𝜃_𝑤(1,𝑦)}{∂𝑥}=\frac{∂𝜃_𝑤(𝑥,0)}{∂𝑦}=\frac{∂𝜃_𝑤(𝑥,1)}{∂𝑦}=0

This are von Neumann boundary conditions.

In Mathematica it is sufficient to enter them this way:

NeumannValue[\[Theta]w[x, y]==0, x == 1 || x == 1 || y == 0 || y == 1];


That can be infered from the message page that is offered if these are entered as DirichletConditions.

There is some nice theory available online from Wolfrom for estimating the problems or wellbehavior of the pde: PartialDifferentialEquation.

It is somehow a short route but the documentation page for the NeumannValue solves the decoupled equation $$C1$$ with the some simple pertubation available. Since we have no pertubation. All our conditions are zero on the boundary. We get the banal solution for $$\theta_w(x, y)=0$$ on the square between $$(0,0)$$ and $$(1,1)$$.

But keep in mind with the process we get only the inhomogenous solution. There is homogeneous solution to be added.

To introduce the Fourier series I refer to the documentation page of DSolve. From there:

heqn = 0 == D[u[x, t], {x, 2}];
ic = u[x, 0] == 1;
bc = {Derivative[1, 0][u][0, t] == 0,
Derivative[1, 0][u][1, t] == 0};
sol = u[x, t] /. DSolve[{heqn, ic, bc }, u[x, t], {x, t}][]
asol = sol /. {\[Infinity] -> 8} // Activate
Plot3D[asol // Evaluate, {x, 0, 1}, {t, 0, 1}, Exclusions -> None,
PlotRange -> All, AxesLabel -> Automatic] The solution is DiracDelta[t].

So nothing really interesting there. The boundary conditions are fulfilled. With some pertubation this woult give a more complicated Fourier series. DSolve offers some examples. From the Fourier series the first question can be answered properly.

(A') and (B') are solved by exponentials that can be comfortable be transformed into Fourier series.

bh = 0.433; bc = 0.433; \[Lambda]h = 2.33*10^-6; \[Lambda]c =
2.33*10^-6; V = 1;
PDE1 = D[\[Theta]h[x, y], x] + bh*\[Theta]h[x, y] == 0;
PDE2 = D[\[Theta]c[x, y], y] + bc*\[Theta]c[x, y] == 0;
PDE3 = D[\[Theta]h[x, y], x] - V*D[\[Theta]c[x, y], y] == 0;
IC0 = {\[Theta]h[0, y] == 1, \[Theta]c[x, 0] == 0};
(*Random values*)
soli =
NDSolve[{PDE1, PDE2, IC0}, {\[Theta]h, \[Theta]c}, {x, 0, 1}, {y, 0,
1}] Table[Plot3D[
Evaluate[({\[Theta]h[x, y], \[Theta]c[x, y]} /. soli)[[1, i]]], {x,
0, 1}, {y, 0, 1}, PlotRange -> Full], {i, 1, 2}] $$\theta_h(x, y)$$ oscillates very rapidly on the boundary and $$\theta_c(x, y)$$. Therefore still in the separated solution there is numerical instability due to the stiffness of the coupling. Only $$\theta_c(x, y)$$ suits the initial conditions but interferes with the assumed separability. It is still the double row with spike in $$\theta_h(x, y)$$.

The biggest problems is the first of the initial conditions.

$$𝜃_ℎ(0,𝑦)=1,𝜃_𝑐(𝑥,0)=0$$

So if to get a nicer solution vary $$𝜃_ℎ(0,𝑦)$$! Make it much smaller.

• Thanks for the response. – Avrana Dec 6 '20 at 3:10
• Almost certainly, Mathematica uses FEM to attempt to solve this system, but FEM in Mathematica is limited to second order equations, and the system is, in effect, third order. – bbgodfrey Dec 14 '20 at 5:05